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Insomnia - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Dr. Junaid Rasool

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Experience: 36 years

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Experience: 30 years

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Experience: 20 years

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Experience: 18 years

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Summary about Insomnia

What is Insomnia? Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting one-third of the adult population. In this sleep disorder, people can not fall asleep or find it difficult to stay asleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy. Insomnia, meaning in Urdu, is 'neend ka na aana'. There are numerous sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, parasomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy etc. The common sleep disorder causes include medical issues, psychological problems, genetics or use of medications.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Following are the many insomnia symptoms:

  • daytime drowsiness or fatigue
  • gastrointestinal symptoms of irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • insufficient motivation or energy
  • inability to concentrate and focus
  • a lack of coordination that results in errors or accidents
  • sleeping anxiety
  • using sleeping pills
  • headaches caused by tension
  • social, occupational, or academic difficulties

Causes of Insomnia

There are numerous causes of insomnia. Some of the common insomnia causes are:

  • jet lag
  • changing shifts at work, or dealing with any other disruptions to the body's internal clock
  • if the room is too hot, cold, or noisy, or if the bed is too uncomfortable
  • exercising at nighttime
  • using recreational drugs such as cocaine
  • night terrors or bad dreams
  • psychological problems such as depression or anxiety
  • medical health issues like ulcers, GERD etc.

Risk Factors of Insomnia

Risk factors of insomnia include:

  • Increased age - Older people (above the age of 60) have more tendency to be insomniac than youngsters.
  • Any chronic health illness - Such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma etc.
  • Continuous use of medications - Use of steroids or any other medicinal drugs that cause sleeplessness.
  • Gender - More women are generally insomniac as compared to men due to hormonal changes like menopause.
  • Lifestyle - Smoking, drinking alcohol, exercising at night, not following a routine etc., may increase the chances of being an insomniac.

Preventive Measures of Insomnia

Insomnia is a nuisance. It decreases the quality of life and induces irregularities, although there are various insomnia treatments such as relaxation techniques, light therapy or sleep medication. However, to prevent insomnia, the following adjustments should be considered:

  • Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Maintain a comfortable temperature and keep it dark and quiet. Hide all clocks, including your wristwatch and cellphone, in your bedroom, so you don't have to worry about what time it is.
  • Find ways to unwind. Before you go to bed, try to put your worries and plans aside. A warm bath or a massage before bedtime can help you sleep better. Create a calming bedtime routine, like taking a hot bath, reading, listening to soft music, breathing exercises, yoga, or praying.
  • Try not to force yourself to sleep. The more you strive, the more awake you will become. Read in another room until you're entirely drowsy, then retire to your bed to sleep.
  • When you're not sleeping, get out of bed. Get out of bed after sleeping as much as you need to feel rested. If you're not sleeping, don't stay in bed.